I've said most of this blog post many times before, probably more eloquently, but it bears repeating on this day before my wedding.
Thank you Lino Rulli. Thank you for introducing me to my bride.
The cover and page six of our wedding program. Even on our wedding day, we still find a way to plug Lino Rulli and The Catholic Channel.
You see, back in October 2009, Lino decided to have a contest to find a fan ambassador for The Catholic Guy Show. Someone who could represent the fans, become a voice for the masses who listen to Lino each day. And this red-headed girl sent him a very well-written, eloquent letter explaining why she should become the ambassador. Lino left it up to the fans to vote for the winner.
"I've gotta go with the red-head," I told Lino. My reasons were simple: She was a good writer, based on the email, and I thought we could use more good writing at catholicguyshow.com. So I did the creepy stalker thing and found her on Facebook, recruited her, and became good friends. Such good friends, we decided to marry each other.
Is there any doubt that this was the work of God? Since when does anyone meet their future spouse from listening to Catholic radio?
In early 2008, I started listening to The Catholic Channel. I can't figure out why, to be honest. I had listened to a Mass one morning when I stayed home "sick" from my cool Baptist church in Hot Springs, Ark., and then, for some reason, I made it a preset and listened to Lino's show. He was doing some segment where people decide to come up with a different name for the show (I called in and said "Catholic Stuff").
I liked it a lot. Faith had been lacking in my life, and this was a way to stay entertained and feel like I'd done something good for God (yes, that's very hollow I know, thinking that listening to a Christian radio show is doing something great for God).
I had no idea that the really funny guy and his sometimes nutty producer would bring me to this day, but they somehow did. For some reason (entertainment value, emphasis on how amazing living out the faith can be), I kept listening to it. Pretty soon, I started going to Mass, got confirmed into the Church and took St. Linus as my patron saint.
I chose St. Linus mainly to remind me of the great influence you can have on someone's life just by living a normal, yet virtuous, life. I'm sure there are days when Lino and crew leave the studio thinking, "Well that was a waste of time." But it wasn't. For every negative thought they might have about their performance on the air, there's a number of people out there that think to themselves, "Hey that was really fun, I'll listen tomorrow."
I got more than I bargained for with this gamble of listening to Catholic radio in my free time. If you had told me that March day in 2008 that if I kept listening to The Catholic Guy Show and Busted Halo, I would meet my bride, I would have laughed at you. Even after becoming Catholic, I still would have laughed.
It seemed that God was playing a cruel trick on me: "Let's get him excited about the faith," God probably said, "But deprive him of any solid Catholic girls to date."
That cruel trick is over with, as I get to experience the Sacrament of Matrimony on Saturday. And I have a big-nosed Italian guy (who also got me hooked on the Foo Fighters as well), a smoking producer, two guitarists, a Paulist Father, a stand-up comedian and a Jewish dead-head to thank for this (note to the mustaches that pay Lino, Maureen, Ryan and The Catholic Channel: if you haven't considered giving them a substantial raise in salary by now, then please start up that paperwork immediately).
Perhaps this makes me biased, but if I come across that way, then I'll be damned. But what we have on The Catholic Channel is a show that is so good, it brings people together. Creates new friendships (ask the people who go on pilgrimages about that too), everlasting memories, laughs out the ass. And in some cases, it helps forge relationships that have the ability to last a lifetime.
After Saturday, I could never ask for more from Lino Rulli. What he has done on The Catholic Channel is grand. It's such a marvelous thing that God has done, allowing Lino to use his gifts for the glory of Christ. Other than him reading this statement, Lino will never know the true impact he has had on so many lives.
And that impact on my life? I can't express it in writing. Listening to this show for the last three years has been the second-greatest blessing God could have bestowed upon me, for it led me to the greatest blessing: Allicia.
Thank you Lino Rulli. Thank you Father Dave Dwyer, Maureen McMurray, Lou Ruggieri, Ryan Grant, Brett Siddell, Big Brother Brian, and Mellow Matt. God bless all of you.
*Insert awkward, creepy manhug here